Monthly Archives: December 2008

7 Quick Takes on Winter in the Tropics

1. People don’t think there are any real differences between summer and winter in the tropics, but there are, albeit subtle ones. If you live here long enough, you become attuned to the little differences in things like the air quality (still balmy, but with a slight sharpness to it), or how the sun sets over the ocean in a slightly different place (which I don’t totally get, because isn’t the west, the west?).

2. I admit it, I’m spoiled about the whole shorter days business. I know our winter days are pretty darn long compared to the Mainland, but they’re still not long enough for me. I’m looking at the tide calendar and see that the sun rose this morning at 7:00 and will set tonight at 5:51. I find myself counting down to the winter solstice and getting excited about how the days will get longer after that. So maybe that’s something I have in common with my Mainland friends.

3. We continue to wear the same shorts and t-shirts we wore all summer. It is a rare winter day when we are forced to don long sleeved tops and/or jeans. We do not like to shop for clothes during the winter. Imagine our frustration with the racks and stacks of cashmere and wool items with which every store in every mall is fully stocked. The display of wool scarves at The Gap makes me laugh out loud.

4. Still, I do like to sing along with “White Christmas” and “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” even though there’s no relating to them whatsoever. I draw the line, however, at “Let It Snow,” but maybe that’s just because it’s such an annoying song. Once I get “Oh, the weather outside is frightful” stuck in my head, I have to fight the urge to shriek in agony and tear my hair out at the roots.

5. One of our family’s Christmas traditions is to go, on the morning of Christmas Eve, to an eastern facing beach and watch the sunrise (the photo on my home page was taken at Sandy Beach one such Christmas Eve a few years ago).

6. Our extended family all gathers at our home on Christmas morning for breakfast. We eat outside on the lanai. Until it gets too hot from the morning sun, then we come back inside and cool off.

7. As I gaze out my kitchen window at bougainvillea, ginger and plumeria, I’m thankful for flowers that bloom all year round. Now, as part of the clean-up we’re doing after yesterday’s storm, I’ve got to go fish their leaves and blossoms out of the pool. Because I’m going for a swim this afternoon.

[HT: Jennifer @ Conversion Diary, a favorite blogger who does this every Friday — I’m entertained and inspired by her QTs every week, and by those of other bloggers who are also inspired by her. Mahalo, Jennifer!]

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He’s a keeper


The Coach and I have always celebrated two anniversaries: our wedding anniversary, of course, and the anniversary of our first date. This is probably because our first date was quite memorable — very unconventional, but more fun than you can imagine — but maybe that’s a post for another time.

Anyway, yesterday was our 25th first-date anniversary. And unfortunately, TC is out of town on a business trip. But on the bright side, he remembered it, and before he left arranged to have flowers delivered. See above.

By the way, I counted. There are 25 of those long-stemmed beauties. All together now: awwww…

A Few of My Favorite Things

Although I wasn’t one of the people she tagged, Lisa inspired me to write this post about a few of my own punahele (favorites) — in no particular order:

#5: I know I should come up with five totally original things, and I promise I’m not copying you Lisa, but reading has been a favorite thing of mine my whole life. As the daughter of a librarian, how could it be otherwise? I read all the time … I can’t help myself … the back of the cereal box (or Triscuits, which I’m partaking of now) will do, but I start first thing in the morning with Scripture, move on to the newspaper, the internet, blogs, and of course, my beloved library books, and it just goes on pretty much throughout the day, till it’s the last thing I do before I turn out the light. I keep a log of the books I’ve read; so far in 2008 I’m up to 54 (#55 is Jimmy Buffett’s latest, a cute little story about a pig named Rumpy).

#4: Although it isn’t something I do much of anymore, I just love to travel. There’s just something about going new places and experiencing other cultures — and when you’re from an island in the middle of the Pacific, just about anywhere else is a different culture — that gives me such a lift. I’m looking forward to doing more of it when I’m an empty nester (less than 2 years to go — whoo hoo!) — but unfortunately this puts me at odds with The Coach, who really, reeeeally doesn’t like traveling. Oh well, who knows, I may just strike out on my own.

#3: Once upon a time, I dreamed of going to culinary school and becoming a chef. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and while I still do love to mess around in the kitchen, I’m guessing that part of what was motivating me back then was my love of fine dining. I could eat in a four-star restaurant every week. Alan Wong’s, Cafe Diva, Hoku’s — once in awhile for a special occasion is never enough. I’m into it all: the menu choices, the presentation, the service, the ambience. I feel like, if I really wanted to challenge myself, sure, I could do gourmet cuisine, but man oh man, when I’m sitting there at that starched white tablecloth and there’s someone in the kitchen who really knows what they’re doing, it’s just … heaven.

#2: You know how there’s a song, or a genre of music, that just, well, sends you? Whether it’s classical, or country, or gospel, or jazz, you never fail to be moved? For me, it’s Hawaiian music. Of course that’s mostly because it’s what I’ve grown up with, it’s the soundtrack of my earliest memories, it’s just my soul music. A year ago I started dancing hula again after taking a break from it for about a decade and a half, and every Wednesday night for me is like spiritual refreshment, when Kimo takes up his ukulele and sings the old favorites and we all just fall under that hula spell. Which sort of leads me to …

#1: Home. When I was 18 years old and graduating from high school, I could not wait to get off this rock. I left for the Mainland, and I gave it a good try, sticking it out through college and graduate school and one year in LA endeavoring to launch a career. But one day it hit me, and I knew there was no doubt about it: the islands were calling me back. So I packed up and came home. That was 27 years ago, and it’s one decision I’ve never second guessed. I met TC (whose family has been here since 1828!), and we knew this is where we were meant to be. And as I said, I do love to travel, but there will never be another place I’d want to live. People who are not from Hawai`i often tell me they envy me living in paradise, but I can see in their eyes or hear in their tone of voice that they could never imagine themselves setting down roots somewhere so isolated, no matter how beautiful. That’s cool. Chacun a son gout. I’m blessed everyday by the beauty of this `aina, it’s true, but mostly I love it because it’s home.